British Columbia

Fans of Filipino food and culture can now find Magkasama market online

Magkasama, which means together in Tagalog, was held physically in the city for the first time in 2019 and now this year, shoppers can purchase from Filipino vendors from home.

Food and wares once available at popular festival can now be purchased at home

Bukobaba Coco Jam — made with coconut milk and coconut sugar — is one of the food items for sale at the online market. (Magkasama604.com)

The organizers of Magkasama, a modern Filipino market, were thrilled last November when crowds thronged to the inaugural event held near Vancouver's Chinatown that featured Filipino vendors and entertainment.

Co-organizers Matt Brennan and Corvette Romero were really looking forward to doing it again this spring, but the COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench into those plans. But that's not to say the market is a bust.

On June 15, the Magkasama Virtual Market launches online, and now festival goers can peruse food and wares from the comfort of their couch.

"It's like a mini store within a store on the website," said Brennan, describing how shoppers can visit the market's website and then check out what each specific vendor has to offer.

Upon checkout, shoppers are asked to select the date and time they wish to pick up their "Magaksama Market Haul" from July 10 to 12 at 302 Industrial Ave. 

One of the offerings at the market is this bibingka cake from Coco Cakes, featuring ube, mango and buko pandan flavours. (Magkasama604.com)

Magkasama means together in Tagalog and connecting people to the culture is what Romero says inspired the idea behind the market in the first place. 

"It turned into something super amazing" said Romero about the inaugural festival, which attracted thousands when Brennan and Romero expected only a few hundred.

Now, points out Brennan, shoppers won't have to fight through the crowds to see what goods are on display.

"I think it's a great way for people to sit in the comfort of their own home and learn about Filipino culture and Filipino food,' said Brennan.

Listen to the segment on CBC's The Early Edition:

Magkasama Filipino Market co-organizers Matt Brennan and Corvette Romero speak with Stephen Quinn about the move online. 7:06

With files from The Early Edition

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